Friday, August 26, 2011

So how did it all begin?

Why would anybody want to be a religious Sister? You give up everything...and what do you get in return? I have had countless people ask the question: "How can you???" and usually chastity is the big question. If you stop to think about it, obedience is the more profound sacrifice, but people see chastity and shudder.  It is always the first and biggest question.

St. Agnes
It's about love. And it always has been. It's about loving someone so much that you give him your life. It's about loving "someones" enough to lay down your life for them. It really is all about love - otherwise we would never do it.

Trust me on that.

In the beginning, the heroes were the martyrs. Actually, if you think about it, they still are. We admire those Christians who give everything, up to and including life itself, for the faith. Martyrdom has always been with the Church, and it has resurfaced in our time all over the world. Those are the real believers - the ones who are heroic, the ones who give it all.

But we don't all have that opportunity. We may yet, but in our space and time, it is not so likely that we will be called upon to die for the faith. The heroism, the desire to give everything is still there - and it has always been in generous Christian souls. The desire to lay down your life.

And so religious life was born.

Almost as soon as there were Christians, there were virgins. Women who consecrated their hearts, their love, their bodies to Christ. Living a life of vowed virginity, they prayed and gave witness to a life without end. Their lives bore fruit for the Church through hidden love and sacrifice. 

In most cultures people misunderstood such a life - and so were born the virgin martyrs, the women who died rather than surrender their consecrated chastity. Their heroism amazed a world. 

These women and girls led the way to what is now a stable form of life in the Church. Women vow their virginity to God and live a life of sacrificial love and prayer - joyfully. For love is always a happy thing.

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